Unmanned and self-operating vehicles (often known as UAVs, UGVs, AUVs, USVs, etc.) are powered with batteries. Larger, driverless vehicles, in particular, can be powered by an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) that is typically paired with a Lead-Acid battery. Drones, on the other hand, usually use a Lithium-ion Polymer (LiPo) battery.
In this article, we will explore the basics of standard and smart LiPo batteries.
Standard LiPo Batteries
LiPo batteries are generally made with battery stacking technology, which allows for a high equilibrium of contact between the anode and cathode. The nominal voltage of each standard battery cell is 3.7V while the fully-charged voltage is 4.2V. High voltage batteries offer a greater and higher volumetric energy density by increasing the nominal voltage up from 3.7V to a range of 3.8 to 3.9V per cell.
LiPo batteries are a popular choice for unmanned systems for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the cells are packaged in thin, flexible aluminum sheets, which allows the final product to be light in weight. Lithium Polymer batteries particularly can be customized in accordance with the capacity, shape, and size of a user’s electronic device.
With the demand for larger drones that can carry higher payloads, hard-shelled batteries have emerged. These Hardcase batteries are particularly helpful due to their BMS (Battery Management System) and exterior protections. Grepow’s Tattu 12S, 44.4V batteries’ IP, in particular, is rated at 53 and the other Hardcase products at 50.
Smart LiPo Batteries with BMS
Grepow’s smart Tattu batteries carry a BMS that is able to detect their status in real-time. The status is shown with a red or white indicator light that will warn a user of over-voltage, overcurrent, over-heating, etc.
Some examples of the light in use are as follows: The battery is placed in sleep mode when not in use; this is indicated when the light turns off. If the battery discharges and there is a low voltage (less than 3.3V per cell) or a cell voltage difference of more than 50mV, the light will start to flash. There is also a smart storage function, where the battery will automatically discharge to the recommended storage voltage to ensure the longevity and safety of the battery.